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News » News Quirks

Short Fuses



Curses, Foiled Again
After someone threw rocks with threatening messages and misspelled words through the window of Judge Frank T. Carpenter, investigators in Hudson County, N.J., named Dennis Sabol, 47, as their suspect. Carpenter explained that when he dismissed Sabol’s complaint against two men Sabol said assaulted him, “Sabol became incensed to the point he screamed at the top of his lungs, ‘F you!’” The judge and court officials confirmed their suspicion by comparing the handwriting on the rocks and paperwork Sabol had previously filled out. When police had Sabol, who happened to be at the courthouse paying a fine, write some of the words appearing on the rocks, he misspelled the same words the same way. (The Jersey Journal)

An Alberta man who punched a Calgary Transit peace officer in the face while she was writing him a ticket fled on foot but was quickly identified. “He left his ID behind, luckily for us,” said duty inspector Steve Ellefson, describing the suspect only as bald, about 30 years old and with a lengthy rap sheet. (The Calgary Herald)

Short Fuses
While visiting neighbor Nathan Hess, 30, in Marston Mills, Mass., Dwayne Peters, 31, brought up some racial “stuff,” prompting an argument, Barnstable police Detective Valerie Hemmila said. Hess got his bow and shot an arrow that shattered windows in Peters’ truck. Peters retaliated by getting a shotgun from his home, where he lives with his parents, and shooting out the windshield and back window of Hess’ car. (Cape Cod Times)

Police in New Albany, Ind., accused Cody Burns, 18, of stabbing his father in the chest for telling his son to pull up his pants. (Louisville, Ky.’s WLKY-TV)

When city attorney Mike Gridley got in his face and called him a “moron” during a debate in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Councilman Steve Adams called 911 and asked “to have an officer respond.” Adams also filed an ethics complaint against Gridley with the Idaho State Bar. When he then reported Gridley’s action to Mayor Sandy Bloem, he said she “raised her fist (at me) and said she had half a mind to punch my nose off my face.” At that point, Adams admitted the 911 call might have been excessive. (Boise’s KTVB-TV)

Problem Solved
Gordon Wozniak, a city councilor in Berkeley, Calif., proposed funding the United States Postal Service with a tax on email. “There should be something like a bit tax,” he said while city officials tried to halt the sale of a Post Office building due to a decline in business. “I mean a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit, and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year.” (San Francisco’s KCBS-TV)

Police in Cheverly, Md., said they hoped a catchy slogan would help curb thefts from cars: “If You Don’t Conceal It, Thieves Will Steal It.” The advisory follows an earlier slogan, adopted for a campaign to curb burglary: “Cheverly is a L.E.W.D. town because we Lock Every Window and Door.” (The Washington Post)

Incongruity of the Week
A 46-foot-long statue of Pope John Paul II, thought to be the biggest statue of the late pontiff, is being installed in Miniature Park in Czestochowa, Poland. (The Washington Post)

Finding My Religion
During the trial of Robert Mackey, 44, one of two men charged with beating a 41-year-old woman to death and then using their tree-trimming tools to lop off her head, former roommates of the suspects testified they overheard Mackey and Paul Trucchio confess to the crime and discuss how to get away with it. One plan was to make the victim’s head, the only part of her that investigators found, vanish by praying to a small concrete alligator. “They used to pray to an alligator and rub its head, like a nutjob,” witness Louis Caroleo told a jury in Broward County, Fla. “They said it was the alligator god. They hoped the alligator would eat the evidence.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Police were called to a Motor Vehicle Commission office in South Brunswick, N.J., after Aaron Williams, 25, refused to remove a pasta strainer on his head for his driver’s license photo. A police report said Williams announced he was a Pastafarian, a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that “his pasta strainer was a religious head covering,” which was his right to wear. “Had it been a turban or a head scarf, or something from a mainstream religion,” Williams said after eventually removing the strainer for his picture, “then it would’ve been fine.” (In 2011, Austrian Pastafarian Niko Alm was finally allowed to wear a strainer for his driver’s license photo after trying unsuccessfully for three years.) (The Huffington Post)

My Bad
Federal prosecutors charged John K. Rosenbaum Jr. with causing a desperate search in south Georgia by showing up at a hospital in St. Mary’s claiming he was bitten by a black mamba. Antivenom was rushed to Rosenbaum from Jacksonville, Fla., and federal, state and local investigators spent more than 500 man-hours hunting for the snake. Authorities accused Rosenbaum of seeking fame as someone who survived a deadly bite by one of the world’s deadliest snakes, but his lawyer, James Newton, said Rosenbaum made the misleading claim unintentionally because he was delirious after being bitten by a different snake: his pet Egyptian banded cobra. (Associated Press)

Drone On
Where Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, fears a domestic drone proliferation threatens American civilization, a Portland, Ore., start-up company spies a business opportunity. Domestic Drone Countermeasures announced it will commercialize military technology, “using American-made components when available,” to counter unmanned aircraft in domestic airspace. A company press release promised DDC’s countermeasures “are non-offensive, non-combative and not destructive. Drones will not fall from the sky, but they will be unable to complete their missions.” Poe predicted that the Federal Aviation Administration’s plans to allow commercial drones in domestic airspace means that 30,000 unmanned aircraft would be flying by 2030. (Domestic Drone Countermeasures LLC)

A hobbyist identifying himself as “Milo Danger” posted a YouTube video of a drone with mounted paintball pistols armed with “non-lethal,” 11 mm paintballs peppering human-shaped targets from overhead. Milo bought the drone and paintball gun online and downloaded piloting software, claiming the entire project took no more than a dozen hours and cost less than $2,000. “I wanted to show an inevitability of what I think will happen with these drones,” Milo said. (The Washington Times)